The Road Ahead : February March 2010
honda odyssey, 2004-2009 REVIEW JOHN EWING As cars go, people movers don't quite cut it as stylish or aspirational -- they are more about function and need rather than desirability. THE HONDA ODYSSEY'S clever blend of practicality with refined, car-like driving characteristics and sleek, stylish looks makes it as desirable as transport dedicated to the larger family gets. Four class wins in Australia's Best Cars is proof of its credentials. The third generation Odyssey, released in mid 2004, is more a luxury, multi-purpose, family wagon with seating for seven in comfort, than a 'box-on-wheels' mini- bus. There are two variants, the base model known as Odyssey and the better equipped Luxury. Safety features include dual front and side airbags and antilock brakes, while the Luxury also benefits from curtain airbags for all three rows, plus such niceties as leather trim, 16" alloys, a power driver's seat and power, retractable, third row seats. Odyssey scores a four-star ANCAP crash rating. Traction and stability control weren't available. A lap-only seatbelt for the second row centre seat, poorly located child restraint anchor points and a space-saver spare wheel also earn our disapproval. There was a facelift in 2006, with the current model launched in early 2009. The 2.4-litre, four-cylinder iVTEC engine performs willingly around town or on the highway, while the standard five-speed auto is smooth and a good mate for the engine. Some owners comment that a little extra low down 'grunt' or a V6 option wouldn't go astray. A low centre of gravity combined with well-tuned suspension delivers excellent ride and nimble handling. It's easy to drive, smooth and quiet and rates well ergonomically, foot-operated park brake and thick 'A' pillars aside. Interior space is good, though like most of its ilk, luggage space is limited with all seats occupied. In true Honda style, it's well built with reliability a virtue. But neglecting servicing, especially engine oil and coolant, is courting disaster, so check records. Watch for interiors far from pristine, thanks to kids and pets. FUEL ECONOMY Odyssey will use between 9.0 litres and 12.5 litres of fuel every 100 km, depending on the model and driving conditions. BUYING PRICE RANGE From $19,200 to $37,200, depending on year and model. visit www.roadahead.com.au/motoring MORE INFO NEED HELP? RACQ CAN HELP WITH CAR FINANCE (CALL 1300 361 316), VEHICLE INSPECTIONS (CALL 13 1905) AND INSURANCE (CALL 13 1905). USED CAR REVIEW MOTORING MAKES YOUR DAY 57 FEB/MAR 2010 THE ROAD AHEAD COMPETITORS MITSUBISHI GRANDIS, 2004-2009 Sound all-rounder with seven seats, well worth considering. The four-speed auto handicaps the 2.4-litre engine a little. Slightly higher fuel consumption than Odyssey. Limited cargo space with all seats in use. HYUNDAI TRAJET, 2004-2009 Not as well resolved for refinement, on- road manners, comfort and layout. The 2.7-litre V6 offers larger outputs on paper but doesn't translate on-road. Four-speed auto. Average fuel use. More affordable, but a bit 'old school'. TOYOTA TARAGO, 2003-2009 Offers space, versatile interior and seating configuration, easy access and eight seats. The 2.4-litre engine and four-speed auto combo does a fair job moving a heavy vehicle. An improved model from 2006. From 2007, 'beefier' and substantially dearer 3 5 litre V6s also substantially dearer 3.5-litre V6 6 6 6s also.
December January 2010